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Dayanita Singh
Indian, born 1961

Dayanita Singh is a leading figure in contemporary photography and bookmaking. Born in New Delhi, India, in 1961, Singh has expanded the
possibilities for photography and photographic display in her formal considerations of the artistic medium. Though her artistic career and success began in photojournalism, she is now a self-described bookmaker who works with photography. In the early 2010s, she began producing “portable museums”—ranging in form from pocket-sized books to large wooden structures. Her work explores the complex and intimate relationships between image, text, and page as she creates art intended to exist simultaneously as book, art object, exhibition, museum, and catalogue.
The File Room prints exhibited here are part of a larger project that addresses the role—and lack thereof—of paper in the contemporary age of increased digitization. The File Room depicts the endless rows and stacks of paper files in Indian courts, municipal offices, state archives, and other institutions. Despite the promise of the tidy archive, the file rooms captured by Singh conversely display the chaos and disorder in the labyrinths of bureaucratic archives in the country of more than a billion people. While specific information of the files is not disclosed, the photographs themselves suggest the many people whose lives touch these papers – archivists tasked with organizing these documents, historians who study them, and the ordinary people whose lives are tracked and constrained by them.

More information about this artist

Dayanita Singh
File Room, 2011
38 x 38cm
5 Archival Pigment Prints